Mobile Gaming – A Corporate Curse or Consumer Gift?

Since the iPhone was launched and the App store was released upon the world, we’ve seen thousands upon thousands of new apps and games flood the market from creative individuals and developers. This made mobile gaming a true platform to be enjoyed by literally everyone with access to a Smartphone, iPod touch or other compatible device. Specifically I’m talking mobiles/Smartphones/Tablets and not PS Vita or Nintendo DS/3DS.

From the age old classic of ‘Snake’ a decade or so ago in black and white, where having any game on your phone was a novelty in even the most basic of forms, to now almost PlayStation 2 level graphical quality with games such as N.O.V.A or Real Racing series by EA – mobile gaming has come a very long way indeed. Making calls and shooting zombies all on the same device has never been so rewarding or time consuming. From a good business standpoint it’s opened up the gaming market to the widest audience possible – a recent report found that 79% of 18-44 year olds have their Smartphones near them 22 hours a day. Giving consumers something fun to do while they are waiting or commuting whilst being engaged with a brand/mobile advertising is the best of both worlds one may think, but can this be destructive?

Games come in many varieties. Free, paid for or a disconcerting mixture called ‘Freemium’. Free games are generally supported by advertising (as are Freemium) whereas paid games generally speaking contain few or no advertisements. The paid or free games I take no issue with. Freemium however are cleverly disguised as ‘Free’ but soon either halt your game progress or constantly bombard you with slightly misleading options which make you unsure whether you have to pay or not. The aim is to get you so hooked with an addictive business model that you feel enamoured to spend money to continue. Granted, the issues arising from this are aimed at the younger audiences entering their Apple id and not realising there is a charge yet it’s an unsavoury practice. It’s much like a game demo but a very restrictive one that is rarely representative of a decent gaming experience. As a result this has caused untold grief for many people mistakenly making payments which were unclear and generally creating a bad taste in consumer’s mouth.

There is a fear in my mind that a Smartphone culture has made us all both less aware of what is going on around us, but also turning our brains on autopilot to an extent. On the train this morning out of 6 seats (split into 2 sets of 3 facing each other) every single person was deep into their Smartphone swiping and tapping. We’re in a digital age so naturally assume this to be pretty normal and there is almost a stigma attached to you if you don’t have a Smartphone, however I can’t help feeling a little jaded that most would spend all day with screens in offices and the natural instinct is to look at another screen on the way home. People miss train stops, lose track of time or even have been close to having an accident walking across the road due to playing on their Smartphone. Make no mistake, Smartphones will only get more advanced and more time sappingly engaging addictive games will arrive

Largely due to the complexity of mobile games we can now tweet, share and socially integrate ourselves with our digital counterparts. Perhaps cynically it’s a way to boost brands’ digital footprint under the guise of competing with your friends for a high score. In previous times the computer opponent was the only top score that mattered and now you’re up against the world – a daunting task if ever there was one, but empowering nonetheless.

Shady DLC practices and social monitoring aside, mobile gaming will simply continue to drain both time and money from many consumers but ultimately levitating any notion of boredom that ever existed when your train breaks down, your girlfriend is late or you’ve had that dodgy Indian curry and are ‘otherwise engaged’.

Use of Java in the Development of Mobile Games

One of the most commonly used platforms for the development of Java games for cell phones is the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME). Most cell phones from well-known brands are Java enabled. Leading handset manufacturers depend on Java platform; it has become more of an industry standard in the design and development of mobile games. It has been found to be appropriate for the development of interesting mobile Java games. And there are a number of reasons for this trend.

A free and open platform, the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) is a low-cost option for game development. There are several other reasons which make the Java platform ideal for the development of mobile games. The Java platform incorporates the Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP). This means that the constraints and limitations of developing Java games for small devices such as are taken care of. Consequently, the development of games for mobile phones becomes quicker as well as easier.

The security features of the Java platform are also commendable. Applications running on a particular mobile phone handset are not adversely affected by mobile Java games that are running on the same device.

Mobile written for a specific type of handset is capable of running on all other types of Java enabled handsets. This inherent portability of the makes it ideal for the development of mobile games.

Because of all these reasons, the Java platform is being used to design and develop a host of interesting and innovative mobile Java games for different models of mobile phone handsets.

Mobile Game Development Is Here to Stay

Mobile game development is currently experiencing a phenomenal rise, especially with the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets. Among these devices, Apple iOS and Android devices are particularly well known. Several such apps can be downloaded both from the Apple Store and the Google Play store. However, it is easier to play on Tablets due to larger screens.

Looking at the ever-increasing sales of smart devices and rapid enhancements, mobile game development is clearly in an evolutionary phase. In 2009, smartphone game sales with only iOS and Android platforms comprised 19% of the market. Two years ahead it rose to 58% and it is at the top of the apps market at present, created expected revenues of more than $8 million for 2013 and possibly twice the previous year in 2014. Each day witnesses the addition of several new mobile game developers into playing communities.

As an SDK, Unity is a common platform that is used for preparing phone play systems. It can be defined both for iOS and Android Operating Systems. The latest one commonly used by developers is Unity 4, which helps in creating high quality contests with less time and cost. New features such as real-time shadows, multi-screen Airplay and dynamic fonts have been incorporated in Unity 4. In short, an entire mobile gaming ecosystem has been created by Unity.

In general, the mobile game development industry has slowly blossomed into a multimillion dollar industry, as a part of the IT sector. By the end of year 2010, it generated a total revenue of US$ 800 million. Many different companies have their gaming smart devices in the market- Sony has released the Xperia Play (PlayStation phone) on which PlayStation games can be played with similar controls. Recently Microsoft also made its entry by releasing Windows Phone 7, which can connect to the XBOX 360 console.

Surprisingly, the international community has a larger engaging audience among middle-aged individuals compared youngsters. Mobile gaming is most popular among adults from 50-59 years in the US, closely followed by 30-49. These days, there is also a mobile game development company which promotes gaming for a socially beneficial cause. Modern lifestyle ensures one can easily engage in the fun through a smart device while being on the move.

Smart devices travel everywhere that people do. They are used for almost every function, such as surfing the Net, checking email, social networking and chatting. In addition, a significant percentage of users devote time to recreation. With the gaming fever catching on, an increasing number of mobile game developers are creating engaging games that can be downloaded either for free or paid. The advantage of smart devices against computer recreation is that the former can be carried around.